THE redeveloped former Co-op building in Tranent is getting the final touches added as it prepares for its grand opening on April 5.

The building on Winton Place is being converted into a Post Office, convenience store and coffee shop by well-known local couple George and Susan Thomson.

“We want to expand the business but we also want a nice place for people in the community to go and socialise,” said George. “We want to draw people to the High Street.”

“We’ve ran the Post Office in Tranent for over 20 years now,” added Susan. “We’re really involved with the community, so this project was important to us in so many ways.”

As well as being postmaster, Susan co-founded the Blooming Belters and is the secretary of the town’s gala committee.

“Although we’re converting a lot of it, it will still be able to host the local groups and charities that make this community so special,” she said.

The Thomsons worked closely with Historic Scotland to ensure that the Edwardian building retained its original charm, including putting in stained glass windows around the outside of the structure.

George said: “The stained glass windows help make the building look how it would have looked a hundred years ago.

“Historic Environment Scotland had also asked to have a temporary exhibition about the history of shopfronts in the country over the last 100 years, and there was so much interest in it that we’ve made it into a permanent display.”

The impressive window display covers all styles of shopfronts in Scotland throughout the century, giving information on the different materials used, accompanied by an archive of photos of shops dating back to the late 1800s.

“The work we’ve done with Historic Scotland is a perfect example of a public and private partnership that can maintain and renovate listed buildings,” George said.

The plans for the building have been in the making since 2016 and Susan recalled the highs and lows of taking on such project.

“It’s great finally seeing it all come together,” she said. “At the start it’s difficult to see what it will look like and, of course, it’s a lot of work. We’re excited for it to be open and for people to get to see the finished product. We think it’ll be pretty special, especially in the summer when we get the chairs outside and all the flowers are in bloom.”

The opening in April will mark the end of phase one for the Thomsons.

Phase two will involve creating a soft play area and flats above the shop, as well as a community hall.

The work on phase two will begin in August, with hopes that the whole project will be completed by 2020.